Ok, round 2. Having been away for two weeks, I came back full of thoughts about the way forward with what I have got. The ones of the Fire Officer are good and work as a narrative but I am not sure that they communicate fully what he is about. I also feel that they are better individually or would be better to develop the fireman side of it rather than trying to communicate the two sides of his life. He is very active as he grew up a farmer’s son and is happiest when working out in the open. His overriding aim is helping people whether it is the neighbour to lay a hedge, have a student photographer trail round after him taking photos or be in charge of a major incident involving fire or a three car pile-up. There is more to be done here but I am running out of time and this could be something that I come back to later in the course for an alternative assignment – maybe the mirror/window one. It is interesting but not enough.
My other approach has been using Barney as a model and the idea of dark and light sides to us. My interest is in what we show and what we hide. The other part of this is the feeling that I don’t particularly like doing portraits or seeing very posed portraits. It’s a personal preference, probably because I am not good at posing people and I prefer moments that capture people unawares so that I get to see the dark side that is normally hidden, or apparently unaware so they display a different part of their bodies and faces. This could be the way forward. While studying Context and Narrative, I came across an article about Nadav Kander and his photographs of David Beckham that he had taken over the course of several years. The ones that caught my eye and imagination were of Beckham’s tattoos, and there were examples of diptychs and a panel like a contact sheet with sixteen individual shots of all parts of his upper body and head.
This one David Beckham, 16 pictures, 2015 illustrated that it is possible to get a portrait of someone without focusing solely on their face or have them looking at the camera. I revisited Kander’s website to check it out again and found that my reaction to it had not changed. In some ways, it breaks the codes of portraits and photographs that we all try to follow: don’t crop too tightly, have them looking at the camera, no closed eyes. But it works as it is a combination of parts of him that make up the external appearance of the person he is. It is difficult not to look at this without the fact that Beckham is extremely well known and there is the context of him being a footballer, a business man and husband/father.
With this in mind, I am going back to Barney and pursuing the original idea and expanding on the photographs that I took as a first shot to get a feel for it. First round was outside in daylight, second round was inside using natural light with a bit of flash and round three is inside using a basic studio set up and continuous lighting. I am interested to see if I can translate what I see in my mind onto a screen.